Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A golden tree called "spring"


If we poor Seattleites don't even have a season called spring (see my previous post - but today, the sun actually peeked through the thick clouds...), then the Mexicans are so much more lucky; they both have the season and also Primavera, a golden tree named after it. 

I found this glorious Primavera reaching over the magnificent stone wall of a garden that I almost saw a couple of weeks ago - the Jardín Etnobotánico in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. As I never got inside the walls, I can only assume that it is Tabebuia chrysantha, a Primavera native to the area. Several species of Tabebuias grow in Central and South Americas and their hard weather- and insect resistant wood is better known as "ipê", a hardwood commonly used for building decks and outdoor furniture around the world. I'll never be able to look at an ipê-deck again without thinking of these golden flowers...

A young Jacaranda tree radiating purple on Monte Albán close to Oaxaca... if you look closely, you can see the city on the left side below the pyramids. 

Because of its magnificent flowers, Tabebuias are hugely popular as ornamental trees, but they have also several other uses from medicinal to agricultural, and are also an important source or nectar for hummingbirds and bees - always a recommendation for any plant to me. Many of its relatives have similar, showy flowers. One example is Jacaranda; while we visited, I spotted a beautiful young tree covered in bright, lavender-blue flowers at the altitude of 2000 meters at Monte Albán close to Oaxaca (see above). Unfortunately, the climate of Seattle is far too cold for Tabebuias and Jacarandas to thrive, but some other of their trumpet-flowered relatives like Catalpas can cope with these northern latitudes and could be used for creating a similar, slightly tropical touch with their clusters of pearly white flowers and huge, heartshaped leaves.

An exception to the rule of not posting pictures of my family... here with my daughters under a flowering Jacaranda tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Australia... what a bliss!

2 comments:

College Gardener said...

What wonderful trees! I remember the first time I saw a picture of a flowering Tabebuia - long before I ever saw one in real life - and being completely mesmerized by it.

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Hello College Gardener, I thought it was amazing too, especially in the bright Mexico sun - just what I needed as a break from the bleek Pacific Northwest winter...